NerdWallet: Three hidden travel fees to watch for

by | Jul 14, 2022 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.  With travel prices soaring, customers might be tempted to pick the cheapest base option they find. But the base price of airfare and hotels represents only a fraction of the total costs. A parade of add-on fees await any traveler trying to navigate the checkout process, ballooning the final price. Experts call it “drip pricing.”

“It’s called ‘drip’ because surcharges and fees drip out throughout the shopping process,” says Vicki Morwitz, a professor of business and marketing at the Columbia Business School. Customers tend to overpay when prices are presented this way, according to a study conducted by Morwitz and her colleagues. “Customers are more likely to select an option that looks cheaper upfront. Even when they later realize it’s more expensive than they anticipated, they’re more likely to stick with it,” she says. From resort fees and boarding-pass printing fees (yes, that’s a thing), companies were padding their bottom lines with these add-ons even before inflation soared this year. Avoiding them requires diligence and know-how. See: Airlines Are Getting Creative With Upselling—and It’s Driving RevenueHotel resort fees Resort fees, which are sometimes called “facility fees” or “destination fees” purportedly cover amenities like internet and pool access. But because the fees are mandatory, they act as hidden costs for booking a room that don’t appear until final checkout. “Resort fees are the only travel fee that has no correlation to any actual service or product,” says Lauren Wolfe, counsel at Travelers United, an advocacy group for travelers. She’s also the founder of the website Kill Resort Fees. “If your hotel charges for parking, if you don’t have a car, you don’t pay to park. Hotel resort fees, though, are almost impossible to get out of even if you decline amenities.” Here are some tips to minimize these pesky fees:
Pay with points at brands that waive resort fees for award stays, like Hilton
HLT,
+1.31%
and Hyatt
H,
+0.44%.

Ask the front desk to waive the fee. “It is probably not likely to work but you can always ask nicely,” Wolfe says.

Look for a search option on a hotel website or app to “show rate with taxes and fees” or similar. This will help compare real prices directly and avoid the hassle of clicking through to the final checkout windows.

Airline seat selection fees Despite a recent uptick, the cost of airfare has actually been …

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